StrumTracks sample libraries are produced in the SFZ format to make our products as accessible as possible.
SFZ is an open standard, not a proprietary system. This means you don't need to buy any expensive sample player to use it. SFZ is essentially a computer file format that uses a standard code to access a folder of sound files. The only things you need are a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and an SFZ player. StrumTracks instruments are only guaranteed to work with the free SFZ player Sforzando from Plogue.
Since different SFZ players have different specifications and implementations, StrumTracks libraries won't necessarily work on other players. However, Sforzando is probably the best SFZ player available and it is not only completely free, but also doesn't require registration. Simply go to their site, download the file, and install it. It works as a plugin for your DAW.
If you are new to SFZ you might like to download and try FingerpickPro Lite for free before buying any other StrumTracks instruments.
The FLAC Audio File Format
The audio files used in StrumTracks instruments are in the FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format. It is a lossless* compressed format that enables the sample library to take up much less memory on your computer, however you still need a reasonable amount of RAM (Random Access Memory) because the SFZ player uncompresses the FLAC files as it plays them.
*What is a lossless compressed format?
Audio files can be 'compressed' so they take up less space on your computer or device. The most well known is the mp3 format, widely used for listening to music. However, the mp3 format, and other 'lossy' formats, achieve their compression effect by taking out some of the digital information that makes up the file. This leads to some loss of sound quality. By contrast, a lossless format such as FLAC uses a different method, and is able to achieve a significant reduction in the size of the file without losing any sound quality.
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